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Holly Arrowsmith wins 2024 APRA Best Country Music Song Award

Story Published Friday 24 May 2024

The 2024 APRA Best Country Music Song Award was celebrated at the Country Music Honours in Gore this evening. South Island folk songwriter Holly Arrowsmith was presented as the winner for her song ‘Desert Dove’.

The evening celebrated the best in Aotearoa country music with live performances followed by the presentation of both the 2024 APRA Best Country Music Song Award and the MLT Songwriting Award.

Desert Dove’ is Arrowsmith’s second Best Country Song Award winning song, following her win in 2019 for ‘Slow Train Creek’.

‘Desert Dove’ showcases her trademark sweet and true voice, with the captivating, classic alt-country ballad inspired by her grandfather.

“In Tucson, Arizona my grandfather fed the birds every morning" Holly explains. "There was a dove that would wake me while I was visiting, mournful and resolute in its song. When he died, I heard that same dove in New Zealand and it filled me with a sense of him. It is a song about distance, loss and grief, and finding courage in the face of these things.”

A leader within the contemporary folk and alt-country movement in Aotearoa, Arrowsmith’s sound pays homage to tradition without being too reverential. From driven, glittering ‘90s guitars with rich layered vocals reminiscent of Mazzy Star, to her falsetto lilt and stripped back emotive performances, she shapeshifts from powerful to intimate with ease, and ‘Desert Dove’ captures this talent perfectly.

2024 APRA Best Country Music Song Award

  • WINNER: ‘Desert Dove’ written and performed by Holly Arrowsmith
  • ‘Do You Think Of Me?’ written by Katie Thompson, Victoria Knopp, and Andy Knopp, performed by Katie Thompson
  • ‘Madeline’ written and performed by Jamie McDell
  • ‘Racing Through The Night’ written and performed by Delaney Davidson

2024 MLT Songwriting Award

  • WINNER: ‘Hardest Thing’ Written by Mel Parsons
  • RUNNER UP: ‘The Man Who Told Me’ Written by Nicola Mitchell
  • ‘Nothing To Fear’ Written by Mark Casey & Lavina Williams
  • ‘Boots’ Written by Jon Collins
  • ‘Wilted Flower’ Written by Fiona Louise
  • ‘Your Old Ways’ Written by Chad Robinson & Kate Targett-Adams
  • ‘Addicted’ Written by Rosie Teese
  • ‘Tell Me Mama’ Written by Karra Rhodes
  • ‘When I Go’ Written by Zac Griffith, Co-written by Allan Caswell
  • ‘Little Victories’ Written by Barry Saunders